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Cottage Grove, Minn., smoke shop owner cited after 3,700-plus drug-related items seized by police

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The owner of a Cottage Grove tobacco shop was cited for violating city ordinance after police confiscated more than 3,700 items they say are used for illegal drugs, not tobacco.

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While Smokes 4 Less' tobacco license renewal was pending last month, police inspected the store and executed a search warrant, said Cottage Grove police detective Greg Malcolm. Store inspections are routine for license renewals.

Smokes 4 Less was selling a variety of products that are used with illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, Malcolm said. Police confiscated 3,744 products including glass pipes, water pipes, grinders and cocaine snifters. The value of the items was not available.

The products cannot be used for tobacco because it burns at a higher temperature than the confiscated items could tolerate, Malcolm said.

"It's designed for very short use, very small amount of products," he said.

City ordinance bans the sale of drug paraphernalia. Smokes 4 Less owner Omar Wazwaz, 20, of Brooklyn Park, was issued a misdemeanor ticket March 1, according to police.

After the citation and confiscation, Smokes 4 Less' was able to renew its tobacco license, Malcolm said.

-Scott Wente

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